Blu-ray Review: STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON Is More Hagiography Than History

2 out of 5 stars


When you review movies, you need to understand that you’ll never like all of them. Sometimes you know going in that you probably won’t like something but you have to give it a try so that you can benchmark and fully understand different types of movies. If you don’t do this then you’ll never be able to judge movies on an authentic level. You may not like some movies because they are poorly made, while others may not be suitable for a viewer on an emotional and thematic level. These movies aren’t bad — they’re just not right for certain audiences. Which brings me to Straight Outta Compton.

I knew going in to Straight Outta Compton that I probably wasn’t going to enjoy it. I’m not a fan of hip hop, so a movie set around the rise of the N.W.A was never going to be high on my agenda. However, I’d heard good things and I wanted Movies in Focus to be a comprehensive guide to films and filmmaking. You can’t turn your back on something and ignore it because its different. I rolled my sleeves up and dived into F.Gary Grey’s drama. It’s a well made piece, but it’s just not for me.

You’ll be in seventh heaven if you dig the musical stylings of Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E but you’ll be at a loss if you don’t. However, the $200 million global gross implies that there are a lot of people satisfied with the movie. Grey’s movie is a well made piece that covers an important time in the history of Los Angeles and the burgeoning hip hop music scene in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Politics, racial tension and music interweave to present an important cultural document and it’s as honest a piece of filmmaking as any other musical biopic – well as honest as it can be when it’s produced by those it represents. It might be more hagiography than history, but when has Hollywood ever let the truth get in the way of a good story?

Straight Outta Compton will have an audience, and that’s fine. It’s not the type of film that Movies in Focus enjoys, but at least I’m honest in saying that.

Special Features

The blu-ray of Straight Outta Compton comes with the theatrical version and a director’s cut. You also get an F.Gary Grey commentary, behind the scenes material (the best being the look at how Gray created an authentic early ‘90s and docs on the N.W.A. This is a comprehensive disc.